|Abstract of title
||A written history
of all the transactions that bear on the title to a specific piece of land. An abstract of
title covers the time from when the property was first
sold to the present. Used by the title company to produce a title binder.
|The section of a mortgage document
that allows the lender to speed up the payment date in the event of a default, making the
entire principal amount due.
||An area of land
that is 43,560 square feet.
|Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or ARM
||Mortgage in which the rate of
interest is adjusted based on a standard rate index. Most ARMs have caps on how much the interest rate may increase.
|Alternative mortgage products
||7/23 and 5/25
mortgages with a one-time rate adjustment after seven years and five years, respectively.
Also known as a hybrid mortgage or two-step mortgage.
||A timetable for the gradual
repayment of a mortgage loan. An amortization schedule indicates the amount of each
payment applied to interest and principal, and also the remaining balance after each
payment is made.
||The amount of
time required to amortize (repay) a mortgage loan. The amortization term is usually
expressed in months. A 30-year fixed-rate
mortgage, for example, has an amortization term of 360 months.
|Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
||A standardized method of calculating
the cost of a mortgage, stated as a yearly rate which includes such items as interest,
mortgage insurance, and certain points or credit costs.
||A written report
by a qualified appraiser estimating the value of a
||An opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's inspection and analysis of the property.
qualified by education, training and experience to estimate the value of real property.
||An increase in the value of a
property due to changes in market conditions or improvements to the property.
||See Adjustable rate mortgage.
||The value of a property as
determined by a public tax assessor for the purpose of taxation.
||A mortgage that
a buyer can assume, or take over, from the seller of the property.
||A loan that has regular monthly
payments which amortize over a stated term but call for a final lump sum (balloon payment)
at the end of a specified term, or maturity date, such as 10 years.
||1/100th of 1 percent. If an interest
rate changes 50 basis points, for example, it has moved 1/2 of 1 percent.
||See title binder.
||A mortgage that schedules payments
every two weeks instead of the standard monthly payment. The 26 biweekly payments are each
equal to one-half of the monthly payment. The result for the borrower is a substantial
reduction in interest payments because the mortgage is paid off sooner. See also pre-payment plan.
||A loan that
"bridges" the gap between the purchase of a new home and the
sale of the borrower’s current home. The borrower’s current home
is used as collateral and the money is used to close on the new home
before the current home is sold. Some are structured so they
completely pay off the old home's first mortgage
at the bridge loan's closing, while others pile the new debt on top of
the old. They usually run for a term of six months.
||See mortgage broker.
||Premium paid to mortgage broker as
the "middleman" in the mortgage process between the lender and the borrower.
Lenders offer brokers wholesale rates; brokers add a surcharge to cover the cost of
underwriting to arrive at the rates charged to borrowers. See underwriter.
||Cabinets, ranges, ceiling fans and
other items permanently attached to a structure, and which a buyer may assume will remain
with the structure.
||The process of
trading money for a lower mortgage rate. The borrower "buys
down" the interest rate on a mortgage by paying discount points
up front. It can also be a mortgage in which an initial lump-sum
payment is made to temporarily reduce a borrower’s monthly payments
during the first few years of a mortgage.
||The maximum amount the interest
rate can change annually or cumulatively over the life of an adjustable-rate mortgage. For
example, if the caps are 2 percent annual and 6 percent life of loan, a mortgage with a
first-year rate of 10 percent could rise to no more than 12 percent the second year, and
no more than 16 percent over the entire loan term.
|Certificate of title
||A statement provided by a title company or attorney stating that the title to the real estate is legally held by the current
that is free of liens or legal questions as to ownership of a piece of property.
||The meeting at which the sale of a
property is finalized. The buyer signs the lender agreement for the mortgage and pays closing costs and escrow amounts. The buyer and seller sign documents
to transfer ownership of the property. Also known as the settlement.
||Expenses incurred by buyers and
sellers in transferring ownership of a property. Closing costs normally include an origination fee, an attorney's fee, taxes, escrow payments, and charges for title insurance. Lenders or Realtors® provide estimates of closing costs to
prospective home buyers.
||A financial disclosure accounting
for all funds changing hands at the closing. See also HUD-1 statement.
||Any fact or condition that could
adversely affect the title.
||In real estate, the broker or
salesperson's fee for assisting the transaction, usually expressed as a percentage of the
total paid by the buyer.
||A formal offer by a lender stating
the approved terms for lending money to a home buyer.
||A levy against
individual unit owners in a condominium
or planned unit development
to pay for upkeep, repairs and improvements to the property’s common
areas, such as corridors, elevators, parking lots, swimming pools and
||Refers to "comparable
properties," which are used for comparative purposes in the appraisal process.
Comps are recently sold properties that are similar in size, location and amenities to the
home for sale. Comps help an appraiser determine the fair market value of a property.
||A real estate project in which
each unit owner has title to a unit of the project, and
sometimes an undivided interest in the common areas.
||A loan that conforms to the
standard rules for purchase by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
||Adjoining or touching.
||A condition that must be met
before a contract is legally binding. For example,
home buyers often include a contingency that specifies that the contract is not binding
until after a satisfactory report from a qualified home inspector. See home inspection.
||In real estate parlance, the
contract is the legal document by which buyer and seller make offers and counter-offers.
The real estate contract describes the property, includes or excludes items in the
property, names the price, apportions the closing
costs between the parties and sets forth a closing date. When buyer and seller agree
on terms and sign the same document, the property is said to be "under
contract." More formally known as agreement for sale, purchase agreement or earnest
||Usually refers to a fixed-rate,
30-year mortgage that is not insured by the FHA, Farmers Home
Administration (Amah) or Veterans Administration.
||An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)
that can be converted to a fixed-rate mortgage
under specified conditions.
|Cooperative, or co-op
||A type of multiple ownership in
which the residents of a multi-unit housing complex own shares in the cooperative
corporation that owns the property, giving each resident the right to occupy a specific
apartment or unit.
|Cost-of-funds index, or
||A yield index based upon the cost
of funds to savings & loan institutions in the San Francisco Federal Home Loan Bank
District. It is one of the indexes commonly used to set the rate of adjustable rate mortgages.
||A written restriction on the use
of land, most commonly in use today in homeowners
||A report on a
person’s credit history prepared by a credit bureau and used by a
lender in determining a loan applicant's record for paying debts in a
of a person’s monthly earnings used to pay off all debt obligations.
Lenders consider two ratios, constructed in slightly different ways.
The first, called the front-end ratio, the ratio of the monthly
housing expenses – including principal, interest property taxes and
insurance (PITY) is compared to the
borrower's gross, pretax monthly income. In the back-end ratio, a
borrower’s other debts, such as auto loans and credit cards, are
also figured in. Lenders usually take both into account and set an
acceptable ratio, which might be expressed as 33/39. Some lenders, and
some lending qualifying agencies such as FHA,
take only the back-end ratio into account.
||The legal document conveying title to a property.
||A decline in the value of
property; the opposite of appreciation.
||A type of point (1 percent of a loan) paid by the borrower to reduce
the interest rate.
||The amount of a
property’s purchase price that the buyer pays in cash and does not
finance with a mortgage.
||A deposit made by potential home
buyers during negotiations with the seller. The sum shows a seller that a buyer is serious
about purchasing the property.
||The right of another to use
property. The most common easements are for utility lines.
||A combination of an 80 percent
loan-to-value first mortgage, a 10 percent down payment and a 10 percent home equity loan. It would eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance, and
for expensive homes it could eliminate the need for a jumbo mortgage by reducing the first mortgage to
the conventional $240,000 limit.
charge or liability against a property.
|Equal Credit Opportunity Act
||A federal law that requires lenders
and other creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race,
color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status or receipt of income from
public assistance programs.
||The right of public agencies to
take land for public use.
value of a homeowner's unencumbered interest in real estate. Equity is
the difference between the home’s fair market value
and the unpaid balance of the mortgage and any outstanding liens.
Equity increases as the mortgage is paid down or as the property
||The portion of a
homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment that is held by the loan servicer
to pay for taxes and insurance. Also known as reserves. The loan
servicer holds the escrow funds separately from money meant to pay off
principal and interest.
|Fair Credit Reporting Act
protection law that regulates the disclosure of consumer credit reports
by credit reporting agencies and establishes procedures for correcting
mistakes on a person’s credit record.
||A fair price for a home based on
recent sales of properties of similar size and quality in the neighborhood.
||Nickname for Federal National
Mortgage Association. It is a government-chartered non-bank financial services company and
the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. It was started to make sure
mortgage money is available in all areas of the country.
|Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
||An agency of the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that insures residential mortgage loans made by
private lenders. The FHA sets standards for construction and underwriting but does not lend money.
||A mortgage insured by the Federal
Housing Administration (FHA).
||A mortgage that is the primary lien against a property.
||A mortgage in which the interest
rate does not change during the entire term of the loan, most often 15 years or 30 years.
|| that compensates for
physical property damage resulting from rising water. It is required for properties
located in federally designated flood areas.
||The legal process by which a
homeowner in default on a mortgage is deprived of interest in the property. This usually
involves a forced sale of the property at public auction with the proceeds of the sale
being applied to the mortgage debt.
||Nickname for Federal Home Loan
Mortgage Corp. A financial corporation chartered by the federal government to buy pools of
mortgages from lenders and sell securities backed by these mortgages.
||Nickname for the Government National
Mortgage Association (GNOME).
|Good Faith Estimate
||A written estimate of closing
costs that a lender must provide a prospective home buyer within three days of submitting
a mortgage loan application. The best approach is to request this list before choosing a
|Government National Mortgage Association (GNOME)
||A government-owned corporation
within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Created by Congress in
1968, GNOME has responsibility for the special assistance loan program known as
|| coverage that
compensates for physical damage to a property from natural disasters such as fire or other
hazards. Depending where a piece of property is located, lenders may also require flood insurance or policies covering windstorms
(hurricanes) or earthquakes.
||An inspection by a building
professional that evaluates the structural and mechanical condition of a property. The
inspection may reveal the need for repairs that the seller may have to complete before the
sale of the house will go through. The buyer may also make the house sale contingent on a
||A nonprofit association that
manages the common areas of a condominium or planned unit development (POD).
Unit owners pay to the association a fee to maintain areas owned jointly. See common area assessment.
||An insurance policy that combines
personal liability insurance and hazard insurance
coverage for a residence and its contents.
|Housing expense ratio
||The percentage of gross monthly
income that goes toward paying a mortgage or rent on a home.
||A document with an itemized listing
of closing costs payable at the closing or settlement meeting when buying property. The
closing costs can include a commission, loan fees
and points, and sums set aside for escrow payments, taxes and insurance. It is signed
by both the buyer and the seller, who may be paying some of the closing costs. The statement form is published by
the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
||See alternative mortgage products.
||A published measure of the cost of
money that lenders use to calculate the rate on an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).
The most common indexes are the one-year Treasury Constant Maturity Yield and the
FLAB 11th District Cost of Funds.
||The sum of the published index
plus the margin. For example, if the index were 9 percent and the margin 2.75 percent, the
indexed rate would be 11.75 percent. Often, lenders charge less than the indexed rate the
first year of an adjustable rate
||Most mortgage holders can deduct
all the interest paid on the loan in filing income tax. The deduction applies to people
with just one mortgage on a primary residence, as well as those with a combination of
loans. Within certain limits set by the IRS, points paid
up front on a mortgage are usually deductible in the year the house was purchased.
|| larger than the limits
set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ($240,000 this year). A jumbo mortgage will carry a
higher interest rate than a conventional
option that allows a potential home buyer to lease a property with the
option to buy. Often constructed so the monthly rent payment covers
the owner’s first
mortgage payment, plus an additional amount as a savings deposit to
accumulate cash for a down payment. A seller may agree to a
lease-purchase option if the housing market is saturated and the
seller is having difficult selling the property.
||A legal hold or claim from one
person on the property of another. The lien placed by a first mortgage is special; it is called the first
lien and takes precedence over others.
|Lifetime rate cap
||In an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM),
it limits the amount that the interest rate can increase or decrease over the life of the
loan. See also caps.
||A pending lawsuit; in real estate, the
constructive notice filed in public records that a legal dispute exists over a piece of
||Under common law, the process of
||The process by which a mortgage
lender obtains a mortgage secured by real property. An origination fee is charged by the lender to
process all the forms involved in obtaining a mortgage.
|Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio
||The ratio of the mortgage loan
amount to the property's appraised value or
selling price, whichever is less. For example, if a home is sold for $100,000 and the
mortgage amount is $80,000, the house has an 80 percent LTV.
||Lender's guarantee that the
mortgage rate quoted will be good for a specific amount of time. The home buyer usually
wants the lock to stay in effect until the date of the closing.
||Rate programs offered by companies
that allow borrowers to lock in the current interest rate on a mortgage for a specified
period of time, while also letting them "float" the rate down if market
conditions improve before closing.
|| with a
low down payment, usually less than 10
percent. Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac design loan programs that spell out a set of standards for
lenders. In recent years these government-chartered agencies have made
low-down mortgages more available through programs such as Fannie Mae’s
Flexible 97 and Freddie Mac’s Alt 97. The "97" refers to
the amount of the home’s value a lender will cover in a mortgage,
leaving a low 3 percent down payment required.
||The number of percentage points
added to the index on a one-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).
For example, if the index rate is 9 percent and the margin is 3 percent, then the fully
indexed rate is 12 percent.
||The date on which the principal
balance of a loan becomes due and payable.
||A legal document that uses
property as collateral to secure payment of a debt.
||The lender that originates the
mortgage loan; the one making the loan directly and closing the loan.
||An individual or company that
brings borrowers and lenders together for the purpose of loan origination. Unlike a mortgage banker, brokers do not fund the loan but
work on behalf of several lenders. Brokers typically require a fee or a commission for their services. See broker premium.
||A policy that insures the lender
against loss should the homeowner default on a mortgage. Depending on the loan, the
insurance can be issued by a government agency such as the Federal Housing Administration
(FHA) or a private company. It is part of the monthly mortgage payment. See also private mortgage insurance (PHI).
||A gradual increase in mortgage
debt that happens when the monthly payment does not cover the entire principal and
interest due. The shortfall is added to the remaining balance to create
|No-doc or low-doc loan
||These no-documentation or
low-documentation loans are designed for the entrepreneur or self-employed, for recent
immigrants with money in foreign countries or for borrowers who cannot or choose not to
reveal information about their incomes. You need a substantial down payment, excellent credit history and will
usually pay a higher interest rate.
||The document giving evidence of
mortgage indebtedness, including the amount and terms of repayment.
||A fee paid to a lender for
processing a loan application.
||A transaction in which the seller
of a house provides all or part of the financing. Sellers may provide financing because
they need to sell the property right away or they are having difficulty selling the house
and want to provide financing as an incentive to a buyer.
||In an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM),
it limits how much an interest rate can increase or decrease during any one adjustment
period. See caps.
||Stands for principal, interest,
taxes, and insurance, which are the usual components of a monthly mortgage payment.
||A cash amount that a home buyer
must have on hand after making a down payment and
paying all closing costs. The reserves required
by the lender must equal the amount a home buyer would pay for PITY for a specified number
|Planned Unit Development (POD)
||A type of real estate project that
gives each unit owner title to a residential lot and building and a nonexclusive easement allowing access to the project's common areas.
See common area assessment.
||A map that shows a parcel of land
and how it is subdivided into individual lots. Plat maps also show the locations of
streets and easements.
||See private mortgage insurance.
||A point equals 1 percent of a
mortgage loan. Lenders charge points as a way to make a profit. Borrowers may pay discount points to reduce the loan interest rate.
Buyers are prohibited from paying points on HUD or VA guaranteed loans. On a conventional mortgage, points may be paid by
either buyer or seller or split between them. Within limits, points are usually tax
deductible. Also see interest tax deduction.
goes a step further than pre-qualification.
It means the lender has contacted the borrower’s employer, bank and
other places to verify all claims of earnings and assets. In return,
the borrower receives a letter stating the lender is willing to grant
a mortgage for a specified amount, within a limited period of time.
||A fee imposed by certain lenders
if the first mortgage is paid off early.
||Similar to a biweekly mortgage, but operated by a third
party. In it, the borrower pays to the third party half the monthly mortgage payment every
two weeks. At the end of the year, the plan operators typically take the extra money that
results from the process and send lump sum payments to the participants' lenders. Instead
of 12 monthly payments of $665, or $7,980 a year, on the 30-year mortgage, the borrower
would make 26 biweekly payments of $332.50, or pay $8,645 annually. As a result, total
interest would shrink by $34,130 and the loan term would shorten to less than 24 years.
evaluation by a lender of a potential home buyer’s credit report
plus earnings, savings and debt information. The home buyer gets a nonbonding
estimate of the mortgage amount the borrower would qualify
for, or how much house the borrower can afford. Buyers who pre-qualify
can go a step further and seek pre-approval.
|Private mortgage insurance, or PHI
||Insurance that protects mortgage
lenders against default on loans by providing a way for mortgage companies to recoup the
costs of foreclosure. PHI is usually required if
the down payment is less than 20 percent of the sale price. Home buyers pay for the
coverage in monthly installments. PHI is usually terminated when the home buyer has built
up 20 percent equity in the property.
||The formal document by which a
claim in property is denied. Often used to clear a cloud
||A radioactive gas found in some
homes that in sufficient concentrations can cause health problems. Many home inspections check for radon.
||A commitment issued by a lender to
a home buyer or to the mortgage broker
guaranteeing a specific interest rate for a specified amount of time. See also lock.
|Real estate agent
||A person licensed to negotiate and
transact the sale of real estate on behalf of the property owner.
|Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act (REAPS)
||A consumer protection law that
requires lenders to give home buyers advance notice of closing costs, which are payable at the closing or settlement meeting.
||A real estate broker or an
associate who holds active membership in a local real estate board that is affiliated with
the National Association of Realtors.
||Securing a new loan in order to
pay off the existing mortgage or to gain access to the existing equity in the home.
||An increase in the amount of land
that occurs when a river or sea permanently withdraws.
||A clause in a deed that restricts the use of property for a period of time.
||A refinance loan that rolls any closing costs or fees into the loan. These programs
best serve people who have a reasonable amount of equity,
want to reduce their overall interest expense and plan to stay in their homes. Most
refinance programs also cap the allowable LTV
at 97 percent, which means some borrowers won't have the option of rolling their costs in
no matter what.
|Rural Housing Service
||This agency of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture provides financing to farmers and other qualified borrowers buying property
in rural areas who are unable to obtain loans elsewhere. It offers low-interest-rate loans
with no down payment to borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes who live in rural areas or
||A written contract signed by the
buyer and the seller of a house stating the terms and conditions under which the property
will be sold.
||A mortgage on property that has a lien position behind the first
|Secondary mortgage market
||The buying and selling of existing
that collects monthly mortgage principal and interest payments from
home owners and manages escrow accounts for paying taxes
and homeowners’ insurance premiums. The servicer often services
mortgages that have been purchased by an investor in the secondary mortgage market.
||A mortgage granted to a borrower
considered sub prime, that is, a person with a less-than-perfect credit report. Sub prime borrowers have either missed
payments on a debt or have been late with payments. Lenders charge a higher interest rate
to compensate for potential losses from customers who may run into trouble or default.
||A legal document
proving a person's right to claim entitlement to a property, including
the history of the property’s ownership.
||Written evidence of temporary title insurance coverage.
||A company that specializes in
examining and insuring titles to real estate.
|| that protects against
loss from disputes over ownership of a property. A policy may protect the mortgage lender
and/or the home buyer.
||A check of the title records to
ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that there are no liens or other claims against the property.
||State or local tax levied when
title passes from one owner to another.
||An index used to determine
interest rate changes for certain adjustable
rate mortgages (Arms). It is based on the results of auctions that the U.S. Treasury
holds for its Treasury bills and securities or is derived from the U.S. Treasury's daily
yield curve, which is based on the closing market bid yields on actively traded Treasury
securities in the over-the-counter market.
||A federal law that requires
lenders to disclose, in writing, the terms and conditions of a mortgage, including the annual percentage rate (APR) and
||See alternative mortgage products.
||A company or person undertaking
the responsibility for issuing a mortgage. Underwriters analyze a borrower's
credit-worthiness and set the loan amount.
||A loan backed by the Veterans
Administration. It requires very low or no down
payments and has less stringent requirements for qualification. Members of the U.S.
armed forces are eligible for the loans under certain qualifying conditions. Contact the
local VA office for information.
||The gold standard in deeds for home buyers: It proclaims that the grantor
warranties (guarantees) that the property has clear
title and is being conveyed free of liens or encumbrances.
||A new mortgage that includes the
remaining balance on an old mortgage, plus a new amount.